Wildcats Take the W

Wildcats Take the W

Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats retained the WBC title with a dominant second half performance defeating a plucky Taranaki Thunder 57-43 in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Cowles Stadium on Saturday evening. The win was built around floor general Terina Wanoa (13 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) and MVP Ashley Gayle.

After Taranaki made the slightly better start, shading a nervy first quarter 12-10, the game swung in favour of the home team.

The forward tussle between Taranaki’s Jess Tuki and Lyndi Laborn and Canterbury’s Darcy Rose and Ashley Gayle was a feature of a low scoring second period. Six points in the quarter from penetrative point guard Wanoa proved to be the difference between the two teams - 24-18 in favour of the hosts at half-time.

Courtney Keech opened the scoring in the second half but animated Taranaki coach Angelo Hill was forced to call a time out after turnovers on consecutive possessions proved costly.

The impressive Wanoa stretched the Canterbury lead to ten points before Simone Cook struck back with a corner three – 30-23.

Isabelle Cook made consecutive scores but the clouds were gathering for the Thunder as Tuki (four fouls) and Laborn (back injury) were forced to the bench.

To make matters worse Isabelle Cook took a blow to the face and had to retire from the game.

Despite the set backs Taranaki were very much in the hunt at three-quarter time just six points down – 38-32.

Laborn returned to connect with a triple but a Hayley Gray jump shot took Canterbury to a 45-37 lead with 6:30 to play. Consecutive baskets from Connie Poletti and a reverse lay up from MVP Gayle stretched the advantage allowing the Canterbury supporters to relax and celebrate back-to-back titles.

Canterbury Coach Lori McDaniel, voted WBC Coach of the Year for a second time paid tribute to the efforts of her team.

“We are a very deep team and I think ultimately that strength in depth was probably the telling factor in our success. Taranaki were worthy finalists and extremely well coached by Angelo Hill.

“To win consecutive titles takes a lot of hard work and I want to thank all the players for their efforts as well as my coaching colleagues Josh Thompson, Sally and Gina Farmer – it was a real team effort.”

Canterbury Wildcats 57 (Wanoa 13, Poletti 14, Wairau 6, Rose 5p/9r, Gayle 2/4r/3a/3b)
Taranaki Thunder 43 (Keech 11, Laborn 9, Hohaia 7, Tuki 5/7r)

Plate Final

Harbour Breeze secured the Plate Trophy after recovering from a six points deficit with five minutes to play to beat Waikato Wizards 61-59.

Alyssa Hirawani landed her fourth three of the game to give Waikato a 52-47 lead with four minutes to play before Anna Lacey responded in kind to tie things up with 2:50 to play.

A flurry of scoring in the final 60 seconds saw an Ella Fotu triple edge Harbour ahead 55-53.

Natasha Lenden cancelled out Coola Baudry’s inside basket 57-55 in favour of Harbour with 20 seconds to play.

Fotu and Lacey made freebies but Waikato found a trey from the unlikely source of Miriam Stevens leaving one last play to reverse a three point deficit. Stirling Pitman was given that opportunity when fouled attempting a shot from beyond the arc – unfortunately only one was made and Harbour escaped with the win.

Harbour Breeze 61 (Fotu 15, Diakhaby 10/15r, Lacey 9, Berry 8)
Waikato Wizards 59 (Smiler 22/8r, Hirawani 20, Stevens 8)

Bronze Medal Game

After the scores were locked at 70 points apiece at the end of regulation time the 3rd/4th play-off game was eventually won 81-77 by Capital Flyers against Waikato Country Cannons.

Grace Simi Vaofusi made the go ahead play for Capital with 30 seconds left on the clock.

Her And-1 play took Capital out to 80-77 leaving Tall Fern Jacinta Beckley (26pts) to ice the game from the free throw line. Waikato Country forward Veshae Asaua-Wilkinson scored a team high 26 points.

Capital Swish 81 (Beckley 26/11r, Penese 15/8r, Simi-Vaofusi 10/10r, Onesemo 9)
Waikato Country Cannons 77 (Asaua-Wilkinson 26/9r, Hermanis 17, Jones 11/11r, Elkington 8)

Other Results

7th/8th play-off

After Overtime
Site Weld Otago Goldrush 84 (Z Richards 14/8r, N Ruske 14, A Ruske 12, Frost 12/9r)Tauranga City Coasters 77 (Daysh 27/13r, C-M Rogers 16, Wilson 14, B Rogers 9) 

9th/10th play-off

Rotorua Lady Vols 69 (Flavell 32/16r, Kingi 13/13r, Leach 8/7a)
Auckland Lady Rangers 61 (Theyers 18, Finnigan 13/9r, Tautiepa 9/8r) 

11th Placed

 Te Tai Tokerau Phoenix


Ashley Gayle (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)

WBC All-Star 5

Ashley Gayle (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)
Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Wizards)
Donna Fermanis (Waikato Country Cannons)
Jessica Tuki (Taranaki Thunder)
Sariah Penese (Capital Swish)

WBC Junior Player of the Year

Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Wizards)

WBC Coach of the Year

Lori McDaniel (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)

WBC Administrator of the Year

Justin Ludlow (Siteweld Otago Goldrush)

Service to Womens Basketball

Rachel Gwerder (Tauranga City Coasters)

To check out the full draw, results, statistics, livestreaming click here.


Photo Credit Photographer Richard Connelly Gamefacenz 

Media Contact:

Mike Lacey
M: 027 2496381 E: mikelaceywmg@gmail.com